Media Editing Services Leeds

Becoming an editor

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I received an email from a college student last week, asking for advice on how to become an editor and how to get their name out there. A question I’m sure crosses the minds of many.

Going back to my early days in music production, even the choice of software’s was daunting and some people would probably be afraid to ask about this at the risk of sounding like the ultimate novice. I am a firm believer of ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question’, though, and so I began my response with the absolute basics and tried to keep things to the point best for foundations.

Software: Most would argue that at present there are 2 main editing suites; Adobe Audition and Final Cut Pro X. I would tend to agree, and if you are a student, part of an organisation, or doing a course of some sort, then you probably have access to Adobe and Apple suites in your institution, which is great. However, not everyone can afford either, and using some of the less ‘professional’ software’s can help boost ones creativity massively. The guys at techradar provide a list of the best available freeware video editing suites for those who can’t afford or aren’t in a position to buy the Adobe or Apple products.

Forums & Tutorials: The amount of information available on the Internet is astounding, but what do we choose to process and ignore?

Forums are a great source of information and advice, and you’ll normally find that your question has already been asked/answered, so try to use the search bar in the forum before you post.

Many questions posted in forums are greeted with real friendly responses like ‘RTFM’ (read the f**king manual). I used to hate reading, and have to admit at this stage that in my early days I found myself getting this reply in forums fairly regularly. Manuals are daunting, tedious, and normally a book whose cover is judged. Once I got off my butt and decided to open the manuals, however, 99% of the time I found my answer, probably quicker than it took to sign up to the forum, post my question, and await that little ‘ding’ in my inbox with a reply (usually RTFM! Which I now understand was somewhat justified). So briefly, I will advise at this stage, don’t be afraid of the manual. They aren’t as daunting as they once were, and you will normally find what you are looking for in a matter of minutes.

That isn’t to say that the world of the forum isn’t a beautiful thing. The RTFM response is usually accompanied by some form of help from others, some of which you may develop an online relationship with allowing you to bounce questions and ideas back and forth with each other. Do ask questions if you can’t find the answers in the manual. Do post your work and ask for feedback. Do be active and provide feedback and answers to others. And if you are going to post RTFM to somebody, then do it in a polite manner – try to answer their query in the process, and perhaps explain how they could have found the answer in the manual.

As far as tutorials go, unfortunately there is loads of rubbish out there, so take them with a pinch of salt. You can normally tell nowadays for example by how many likes/dislikes a YouTube video has, and by reading the comments. Usually in the comments someone will have referred the observers to better tutorials about the same topic too, so check them out as well.

Accredited sites such as Lynda provide thousands of great tutorials (some free and some paid), which normally come with their own material to download in order to carry out the tasks. Many will also provide some sort of certificate of completion too – not to say this would be recognised by organisations etc. but the more popular Lynda gets the more potential clients/employers will recognise that you have completed some form of training as well as invested in your self development.

Shutterstock posted an article a while back with some great blogs and tutorial sites for video editing:

Editing & Learning: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Make mistakes; mess with sliders, buttons, and numbers on plugins as much as possible to see what they do. Learn by doing. You’ll probably find some stuff that works to your taste that you perhaps wouldn’t find anywhere else and most certainly not get taught. Trust your eyes and ears.

Whilst doing tutorials, do what they are telling you to do i.e. get the final storyline they are after, but mess around here too! There is no need to do exactly to spec what thousands of others doing the same tutorial are doing.

Footage: There are loads of websites that provide stock video to play around with whilst learning your editing. Shutterstock mentioned above is one; some others include Videovo, Pexels, and Pixabay.

Whilst stock footage is quick, free, and of good quality, I strongly advise you create your own. Everyone has access to a good quality camera these days through a smartphone. These cameras can produce video and audio that ones costing 000’s of dollars 20 years ago couldn’t. Also, some of the material from tutorials and stock websites can get boring, quick. So why not chose something that interests you; sports event, nature, music, interview someone etc. then play around editing that.

Formats: On an important (but slightly boring) note, learn about formats, resolutions, and compression. Different clients and mediums of delivery will require different file formats, colour formats, and resolutions. Clients may even provide you with footage of varying formats and resolutions and you will have to find the best way to make them work together and edit them down into one format.

Getting your name out there: My background is the music side of things but I believe the process for this is the same.

Regularity is important. Wherever you are posting/hosting your work, try to do it regularly. Project times will vary so obviously it’s difficult to keep a rigid timeline, but if one is going to take a while longer than the previous, then post a short clip or a demo. Keep the page active.

Get a Vimeo account, post your work there (as long as you have the right to), share it in forums and ask politely for feedback.

Keep your best work on your page – you will quickly begin to notice how much your work quality has improved so replace any of the earlier ones that you may now be less happy with with better projects – even if it’s a little 30s feature practice project.


In summary:

Structure how you will progress with regard to tutorials and reading, but ultimately, play with every plugin, make things look silly, make mistakes. This will massively boost your creativity.

– Learn the boring stuff. File and colour formats and resolutions are some of the most important things to learn.

– Post and share your work regularly, always ask for feedback, always provide feedback to others.

Finally, if anyone would like feedback on work they’ve done, we are more than happy to look over it and provide feedback and criticism. Just send any questions to the email address found on the footer of our page.

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